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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2:40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Audio Descriptive 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Dolby Surround
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 158 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (2 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + UltraViolet)
  • Studio:  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 20th, 2012
  • List Price: $49.99

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Purchase The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, based on the first of author Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of books, tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). Formally a top notch journalist with his own magazine, Millennium, everything seemed to be okay for Mikael. That is until he lost a libel suit against his magazine. Forced to resign, Mikael begins an investigation of a 40 year-old disappearance case on behalf of a man named Henry Vanger (Christopher Plummer). Assisted by an odd computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), the two embark on a journey filled with corruption and deceit, something neither of them expected.

Having never read the books or seen the original Swedish version, I went into Tattoo with high expectations. Not necessarily because of how popular the novels are, but more because I’ve found David Fincher (outside of Fight Club, which I find to be very overrated) to be one of the more consistent Directors in Hollywood. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Zodiac, etc. Fincher just seems to know how to make a story (whether based off a previous subject or brand new material) click with audiences. Such is the case with his latest effort here in Tattoo.

It’s more the total, overall package that makes this film succeed on the level it does. From what I’ve heard from those who have read the novels, the books are quite dark, moody, and violent, but all in a manner that isn’t too over-the-top. The film version, I can assume, is faithful to the novel. After viewing his adaptation, I found, in particular, how Fincher seemed to capture the impact of the novels in a truly fine manner. The acting by Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara or Christopher Plummer is great. Craig always seems to be able to define his roles with a kind of style that makes me just watch with a smile. I really haven’t seen much that Mara has starred in, but her performance here is chilling, almost creepy, but in a good kind of a way. Plummer, well Christopher Plummer is a true legend in my opinion. A quick glance over at his IMDb shows the kind of actor he is.

Will Dragon Tattoo appeal to everyone? I doubt it as the subject matter (and really one scene, one which I even found a bit tough to watch) may be a bit much; however, if audiences can go into this film (and the novels as I intend to do), you just may come out amazed at what Fincher and company have made.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The 2:40:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is excellent. Akin to that of most of David Fincher’s films, Tattoo was shot using many low-lit techniques famously used by Fincher contributor Jeff Cronenweth (he’s worked with Fincher on The Social Network and Fight Club). Normally, lower lit sequences might effect the overall impact of a film’s transfer with lost detail; however, this is the exact opposite here. Detail is as strong as we’ve come to expect from Sony’s day-and-date Blu-ray titles. Contrast levels are equally as solid with accurate color reproduction and flesh tones. Close ups do showcase fine textures on varying clothing worn by characters. Colors, mostly consisting of dark blacks, are excellent. Blacks are deep, inky and, even though they dominate the transfer, they looked great throughout. Like the below audio, this video presentation is faithful and one that captures the true essence of the story being told.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The film’s provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is downright amazing. Dialogue is consistent throughout via the center channel. No instance of drop out or muddle dialogue. The film’s low-end hits the walls creating solid response, whether during the quieter moments where the bass comes from the film’s score, or during the heightened action sequences. Speaking of the action, it’s during these scenes that the overall atmosphere is excellent. Rain, wind, weather elements, creaking of floor boards, etc. Every little discrete effect has been expertly placed in a truly perfect manner. Pans between the rears are invisible all but helping to finish off what is, in this reviewer’s mind, one of the best aural efforts from any major studio on Blu-ray. Truly, truly excellent material here.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:5/5]

The included supplements feature a plentiful collection of behind-the-scene info on the film. In fact, this may be the most behind-the-scenes info I’ve seen put together for one film’s Blu-ray release. All features are in HD, minus one which is noted below:

  • Audio Commentary with Director David Fincher – Fincher has always provided solid commentaries for his previous films, so I wasn’t really surprised to find this commentary very informative.
  • Men Who Hate Women – This runs 6:40 and looks into the transition of bringing the hit novel to the big screen.
  • Casting Salander – This 15:42 features informs us exactly how Rooney Mara transformed and mentally prepared herself for this role.
  • Different in Every Way – Running 5:32, this shows us Lisbeth’s varying character traits.
  • The Look of Salander – At 14:06, we’re giving information on the physical building of Salander’s character including makeup choices.
  • Mara/Fincher – A 4:09 look into Fincher’s and Mara’s work.
  • Irene Nesser – A 6:25 glance into Mara’s performance of Lisbeth toward the end of the film.
  • Salander Test Footage – A 2:53 look into the early screen footage of Fincher and Mara.
  • Casting Blomkvist – A 6:44 into how Daniel Craig prepared for his role and his determination to capture the character.
  • Daniel Craig on Film Acting – 3:31 worth of Craig and how he has become one of the best actors in Hollywood.
  • Dressing Blomkvist – A 2:56 look into the wardrobe of Craig’s character.
  • Investigation – A collection of HD images, including In The Cottage.
  • Stellan Skarsgard on Acting – Similar to the above feature, this 3:13 bit shows how Skarsgard details his performances with a certain style.
  • Psychopathy – A 6:11 look into Skarsgard and his portrayal of a serial psychopath.
  • Bondage – 5:29 look at the bondage device that defines the latter half of the film.
  • Torture – A 4:09 glance into the film’s rather violent torture scene.
  • Wrapped in Plastic – This one shows a 4:37 first-person perspective of shooting with a plastic bag over one’s head.
  • Set Design – More HD images of the film’s set pieces.
  • Stockholm Syndrome – A 17:54 look into why it was important to shoot the film in Sweden.
  • Stockholm’s Tunnelbana – 6:24 worth of cast and crew insight into shooting in Sweden.
  • F*ck These People – A rather interesting 6:03 look into shooting a certain scene and the trouble that came with it.
  • The End – A 11:58 showcase of the film’s final climax and the importance of fully capturing every emotion.
  • Picture Wrap – 6:53 wrap of the final day of filming.
  • Casting Armansky – Actor Goran Visnjic gives us a 4:44 look into landing the role of Salander’s employee at Milton Security.
  • Audition – Here, in 6:42, we get to see Visnjic’s audition for Armansky.
  • Thinking Evil S*it – A 5:09 look into how the crew shot one particular sequence in a different manner.
  • Rape/Revenge – A more in-depth 16:52 look into shooting one of the film’s more challenging sequences.
  • Int. Blomkvist’s Cottage – A 5:42 look into the technical shooting inside the cottage.
  • Int. Martin’s House – Similar to the above feature, this 7:39 features shows how Fincher shot inside Martin’s house.
  • Int. Salander’s Apartment – A shorter 2:40 look into shooting Salander’s Apt.
  • In the Cutting Room – This 14:23 feature looks into how Fincher edited the film and exactly which scenes he chose to screen.
  • ADR – 6:37 worth of footage of the post-production dialogue tests.
  • Main Titles-  A 2:33 feature that shows us three different opening title sequences. This comes with optional commentary by Tim Miller of Blur Studio.
  • Visual Effects Montage – An 8:07 look at a few different sequences during their varying editing stages.
  • Hard Copy [SD] – An 8:58 piece of viral media that helped to create awareness for the film.
  • TV Spots – Varying TV spots (all 0:32 in length) are shown.
  • Trailer – 4 different trailers (running 1:41, 3:47, 1:10, and 2:08) are shown.
  • Metal One Sheet – A 4:00 look into the creation process of the film’s metal poster.
  • DVD – A DVD, on a burnt DVD disc (nice touch!), is included.
  • Digital Copy – An UltraViolet Digital Copy is included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

Director David Fincher has brought to our eyes and ears the first part of Larsson’s epic trilogy with quite the interesting film. Sony, as one might expect, has given this the kind of Blu-ray release that will push it to the forefront of the ‘Best of 2012’ contenders. The transfer is faithful, the audio excellent and the features, whew, extremely informative. This one deserves a spot on every shelf. Highly Recommended!

Additional Screen Captures

 

[amazon-product]B003Y5H5HY[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:5/5]

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